Saturday, August 13, 2011

XXXVIIth Congress -- First Session


SENATE. – Mr. Davis presented petitions from citizens of Kentucky, asking Congress to turn a deaf ear to all schemes of emancipation, and turn their attention to the business of the country.

Mr. Trumbull, from the judiciary committee, reported back the resolution for the expulsion of Mr. Powell, with the recommendation that it do not pass.

Mr. Sherman offered a joint resolution expressing the thanks of Congress to Lieut. Worden and sailors.  Laid over.

He also introduced a bill to authorize the President to take possession of certain property.  Referred.

Mr. Latham introduced a bill to repeal all laws preventing foreign vessels from carrying the mails to Panama and Aspinwall.

A joint resolution was received from the House, tendering aid, &c., to certain States.  Referred to the committee on judiciary.

On motion of Mr. Wilson, of Mass., the bill authorizing the Secretary of War to accept monies appropriated by the States in payment of volunteers was taken up and passed.

The Senate passed the bill to define the pay and emoluments of the army, &c., including a deduction of ten per cent. on the salaries paid by the Government during the rebellion.

The bill abolishing slavery in the district of Columbia came up.  Several amendments of the committee were reported.  Amendments were also adopted to punish kidnapping and repealing all inconsistent with the act.

Mr. Davis offered an amendment that all persons liberated be colonized and appropriating 100,000 dollars for it.  He addressed the Senate in support of his amendment, but without further action.  Adjourned.

HOUSE. – Mr. Edwards introduced a joint resolution, tendering the thanks of Congress to J. Ericsson, for his enterprise, skill and forecast displayed in the construction of the Monitor, and to Lieut. Worden, officers and men, for services recently rendered.  Referred to the committee on naval affairs.

Mr. McPherson introduced a joint resolution, which was referred, to fill the vacancy of the board of regents.

The House passed the bill authorizing the appointment of commissioners to meet commissioners from Great Britain and France for the purpose of adopting measures for the protection of the fisheries on the coast of Newfoundland.  $3,000 was appropriated to carry the act into effect.

The House passed the Senate bill amendatory of the act for carrying into effect treaties with New Granada and Costa Rica for the adjustification of claims.

Mr. Colvert submitted a minority report.  The subject was re-committed to the committee on the District of Columbia.

Mr. Blair, of Mo., from the committee on military affairs, reported a bill to increase the efficiency of the medical department.  Also, a bill to provide for the organization of a signal corps to serve during the present war.  The consideration of both was postponed.

The House passed the bill amendatory of the 8th section of the act to promote the efficiency of the navy.

Mr. Sedgwick reported from the naval committee a bill regulating the grades of line officers.

The House passed the Senate bill providing for the custody of the letter and presents from the King of Siam.

Mr. Ashley, from the committee on territories, reported a bill providing for a temporary provisional government over the district of country in rebellion against the U. S.  The President is authorized to take possession and institute such government with the aid of the military and naval powers.  Governors, &c., to be appointed legislative assembly and courts established and continue till the people for new State governments.  Mr. Cravens, from same committee, submitted a report which takes the ground that the bill provides that Congress has the power to exclude certain States from the Union, and hold them in colonial dependence and vassalage till re-admitted.

The Union may be dissolved by act of Congress, an assumption as absurd and fatal as that a State can annul its allegiance to the Union by State action.  The bill further is impracticable in its details; incendiary and equally as repulsive to the principles of justice and humanity as to the constitution.

Mr. Harding also submitted the minority views of the committee, saying there are abundant reasons for believing the armed rebellion will be speedily subdued and put down.  The bill at a single blow strikes out of existence eleven States – in effect an ordinance of secession.  It strikes down the constitution and dissolves the government, is inconsistent with sound policy, utterly at war with religion and humanity; and hence the minority enter their most solemn and earnest protest against it.

Mr. Pendleton said the bill being clearly unconstitutional, he moved it be laid on the table.  Carried, 65 to 66.

Mr. Ashley, from the committee on territories, reported a bill to provide for a temporary government for Arizona.

The House went into committee of the whole on the tax bill, Mr. Colfax in the chair.

Mr. Morrill, of Vt. explained at length the provisions and effects of the bill.  He said the measure as composed would meet the large demands of the government.

Considerable debate followed, participated in by Bingham, Hickman and Wadsworth, but without action the House adjourned.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Thursday Morning, March 13, 1862, p. 1

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